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THEGHINESEMIND                             93
When the boat had reached her home town, Wang Chou said to Ch'ienniang, "I do not know what state of mind your parents are in. So let 'me go alone first to find out." His heart was palpitating as he drew near his father-in-law's house. On seeing his father-in-law, Wang Chou knelt down and kowtowed, and begged for forgiveness. On hearing this, Chang Yi was greatly surprised, and said, "What are you talking about? Ch'ienniang has been lying unconscious in bed for these last five years since you left. She has never even left her bed.39 "I am not lying," said Wang Chou. "She is well and waiting in the boat."
Chang Yi did not know what to think, so he sent two maidservants to see Ch'ienniang. They saw her sitting, well-dressed and happy, in the boat, and she even told the servants to convey her love to her parents. Bewildered, the two maid-servants ran home to make their report, and Chang Yi was still more greatly puzzled. Meanwhile, she who was lying in bed in her chamber had heard of the news, and it seemed her illness was gone, and there was light in her eyes. She rose up from her bed and dressed herself before her mirror. Smiling and without saying a word, she came straight to the boat. She who was in the boat was starting for home, and they met on the river-bank. When the two came close together, their bodies melted into one shape, and their dresses were double, and there appeared the old Ch'ienniang, as young and as lovely as ever.
Both her parents were overjoyed, but they bade their servants keep the secret and not tell the neighbours about it, in order to avoid gossip. So no one, except the close relatives of the Chang family, ever knew of this strange happening.
Wang Chou and Ch'ienniang lived on as husband and wife for over forty years before they died.
It is perhaps well that the world is not completely explained and that there is some room for this type of imagination. The proper use of imagination is to give beauty to the world. For as in the moral life human intelligence is used to convert the world into a place of contentment for human existence, so in